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Analysis of the Curves Fitness Program
Analysis of the Curves Fitness Program
The Milk Diet -- Is It Your Solution For Losing Weight?For sometime now, you''ve been hearing about the Milk Diet and it''s benefit in helping you lose weight. I ..... Analysis of the Curves Fitness ProgramBy Kyle Battis CSCS, L/ATC, NSCA-CPT Professional FitnessCoachingMany people have asked me what my thoughts were on the Curvesfitness program. After researching the program, interviewingcurrent and past members, and speaking with other fitnessprofessionals around the country I have compiled the followinganalysis. Low Carb Diets - The South Beach Diet, Atkins Diet, Zone Diet, And MoreThe low carb diet craze has become extremely popular amongst dieters. From diet books, free low carb diet plans, online dieting sites, and .....WHAT IS CURVES?Curves is a franchised exercise program designed exclusively forwomen. The Curves program has spread across the nation likewildfire due to claims such as: No experience necessary, only30 minutes for a full-body workout, no class times, noappointments to keep, you cant be late for your workout becausethe circuit is always on! In fact, the Curves franchise islisted by Entrepreneur Magazine as one of the top franchises toown. The question is why has it grown so popular? The answer can be found in the target audience of the Curvesprogram. Curves caters to a very large group of women seekingpositive physical change in a supportive environment. Mostcommercial gyms and fitness centers do not come close tooffering a friendly and supportive environment for beginningexercisers be it female or male. You have to give credit wherecredit is due. The originator of this franchise recognized thatthere was a huge market for a gym such as Curves and surely hastapped into a goldmine. GREAT CONCEPT, BUT WHAT ABOUT THE ACTUAL PROGRAM? Curves is definitely great from a marketing and businessperspective but what about the actual exercise program that isfollowed? One of the Curves members that I interviewed offeredthe following synopsis:They have about 10 different units. Leg extensions/leg curls,squats, leg press, glut press, biceps curls/triceps extensions,lat pull downs/overhead press, chest press/seated row, adip/shrug machine, and a seated abdominal machine. They repeatsome of the machines and you go around the circuit 1 and 1/2times. In between each machine there is 3 x 3 platform thatyou perform some continuous exercise such as running in place orstationary jumping. The goal is to stay in the fat burningtarget heart rate zone for 30 minutes.Curves is a 30-minute exercise circuit comprised of hydraulicresistance machines and bodyweight exercises. The nature of thehydraulic machines used in the Curves program forces the user toperform concentric (muscle shortening) contractions of theopposing muscle groups. No eccentric (muscle lengthening) muscleaction occurs when using these machines so very little musclesoreness is developed. The problem with the lack of theeccentric muscle actions is that it does not put a lot of stresson the muscle and a muscle not stressed is a muscle that willnot change. In fact, as Strength Coach Christian Thibeadeau points out inhis book Theory and Application of Modern Strength and PowerMethods,It was found that omitting eccentric stress in training programseverely compromised the potential strength gains (Dudley et al.1991). Curves members are encouraged to check their heartrates every 8 minutes to ensure that they are in their targetheart rate zones. In summary, the Curves routine is aAre Fruits Making You FAT?I want to make this perfectly clear, fruits are healthy and they are good for you. They are .....circuit-training program that focuses on muscular endurance andaerobic exercise. A GOOD START BUT..It is important to point out that every exercise program hasbenefits and inherent weaknesses. I commend the originator ofthe Curves program for the benefit that it introduces women whowould not otherwise be exercising to a regular exercise routine.There are, however, many limitations to the exercise routineutilized by Curves. Some of those limitations are lack of an individualized exerciseroutine (cookie-cutter approach), absence of a comprehensivefitness assessment, reliance on limited-value hydraulic exerciseequipment, lack of progressive overload (for both resistancetraining routine and cardiovascular conditioning), lack ofexercise variety which can lead to overuse injuries, lack ofprogram design that is based on current research to deliveroptimal results, lack of instruction on how exercisers shouldprogress after reaching a plateau with the program, and finallya lack of qualified supervision by an exercise specialist whichposes many problems in itself. The lack of qualified supervisioncan lead to problems such as not knowing when to refer out tothe appropriate medical professional if problems arise,recognizing when an individual is over-training, or modifying anexercise routine to suit the individuals current needs andtraining level. Simply put, the Curves fitness program utilizes outdatedexercise programming that predisposes the exerciser to anabundance of overuse injuries (bursitis, tendonitis, medial andlateral epicondylitis, etc.) and does not deliver optimalresults in the safest manner possible. I work full-time at aPhysical Therapy clinic and we have seen countless cases ofwomen developing overuse injuries from the Curves program. Itshould be a big red flag but some people just are not making theconnection that the nature of the program is what causes theproblems. I hate to say it and I hope that you are not offended,but the Curves program is fairly limited. Any competent fitness professional could design anindividualized exercise program combining progressive resistancetraining, anaerobic intervals (when appropriate), aerobicexercise (for recovery purposes), flexibility training, andrestoration/recovery methods that would deliver results that arefar superior to the results delivered by following the Curvesfitness program. An individualized exercise program that suitsyour specific exercise and health history, caters to yourspecific fitness goals (athletic or aesthetic), focuses onmetabolism-boosting resistance training methods, and focuses onprogressively overloading the system in an intelligent mannerwith a variety of different loading parameters and exerciseswill far surpass any one-size fits all exercise program asfound in all Curves centers. Any current Curves members would be wise to pay attention tonagging pains that are developing (any joint pain or soft-tissuepain that does not diminish in 48 hours). They should also payattention to any plateaus that are reached in their weight lossor fitness results. The human body is an amazing adapting machine and eventually thebody will adapt to the stresses (exercise is a stress after all)that you are asking it to perform. If your body has adapted to aspecific exercise routine and you continue to subject your bodyto that routine, you not only run the risk of developing overuseinjuries but your fat-loss results will come to a screechinghalt and you will see no further improvements by following thatsame program. Here-in lies the major weakness of the Curvesprogram, it does not change! The Truth About Weight Loss. The 6 Biggest Myths About Dieting!All of our behavior results from the thoughts that preceded it,so the thing to work on is not your .....There is a concept in exercise physiology known as ProgressiveOverload. Basically, it means that over time, you have togradually and intelligently lift more weight, perform morerepetitions, or change something about your workouts in aprogressive manner in order to see results. Once your body hasadapted to a given form of stress, it basically says, Yeah. Wehave done this before quite a bit. This stress is nothing newand we dont have to do anything differently and we dont haveto change.If you want to see your body change (i.e. lose fat, get lean)then you must expose your body to varying and progressivestress. I cant stress this concept enough and any program thatdoes not obey this law is doomed to fail! It has been said thatthe definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and overagain and expecting a different result. Understand that Curves is a great program for an absolutebeginner but it is a vehicle that can only bring you so far! WHAT DO I DO IF I AM A CURRENT CURVES MEMBER?Curves has tapped into a huge market of women exercisers thatfind comfort in being surrounded by other people that are in thesame situation as they are. In that regard, Curves is importantbecause it gets more people active and involved with astructured exercise routine. The program that is followed ishardly ideal and is deficient in many aspects. I doubt that thefranchise will alter the parameters of the exercise routine anytime soon so the current Curves member might take some of thefollowing advice into consideration. 1.Watch out for overuse injuries that might develop and seek theappropriate medical assistance if problems do arise. 2.Pay attention to your body and keep tabs upon your progress.It is always a good idea to check your body fat percentage, bodyweight, strength levels, girth measurements, energy levels, andtrack your progress. When your body has adapted to the routineprovided by Curves, recognize when it is time to move on.Remember that it is a vehicle that will only take you so fat.Once you have adapted to the program you will simply be spinningyour wheels!3.It has been said that insanity is doing the same thing overand over and expecting a different result. Curves is simply agateway program. After its full value has been maximized, amember would be wise to seek the advice of a qualified fitnessprofessional to determine an individualized plan of action thatwould lead to further results. Overcoming The 7 Roadblocks To Maintaining Weight Loss1. Become aware of what you are eating.Before I started my diet, I was an unconscious eater. .....4.If this plan of action does not sound appealing, then thebudding exerciser should begin a journey into the science andpractice of shaping their body with the tools of progressiveresistance training, cardiovascular exercise, and supportivenutritional practices. The resources are out there such ase-mail list serves like Supertraining, fitness books, fellowgym members (although not always the most accurate of sources),and fitness magazines. 5.The key is to find progress and escape the restrictions of thesimplistic circuit training routine found in Curves. It can bean enjoyable process if approached in the appropriate manner.Have fun, keep progressing, and enjoy the adventure todiscovering your best body! I would be happy to assist you in any way that I can! Sincerely,Kyle Battis CSCS, L/ATC, NSCA-CPT Professional Fitness Coachinghttp://www.profitnesscoaching.com http://www.fatlosskeys.comConcord, NH 03301 (603)-867-4934 About the author: Kyle specializes in physique-transformation programs, athleticperformance enhancement, and injury rehabilitation. Go tohttp://www.ProFitnessCoaching.com to sign up for theProfessional Fitness Coaching Newsletter and recieve a greatbonus for signing up!
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